Computer troubleshooting in 8 steps

The most important part of troubleshooting any problem is to divide the tasks of problem resolution into a systematic process of elimination. The process  can be divided into eight steps:

1) Define the problem.
2)Gather detailed information.
3) Consider probable cause for the failure.
4)Devise a plan to solve the problem.
5) Implement the plan.
6) Observe the results of the implementation.
7) Repeat the process if the plan does not resolve the problem.
8) Document the changes made to solve the problem.

Define the problem and gather facts
How many times have you heard this: “My computer does not work”? Which leads us to the response: “Could you please be more vague?”

Often the user reporting the problem is frustrated and only knows that the computer is preventing the completion of a task. It is the responsibility of the technicain to find out what aspect of the user’s machine is not working.

Handling such situations goes more smoothly when you have a good rapport with your  users. A good technicain can explain that more information is required to diagnose the problem and more information must be obtained in order to quickly resolve the problem.

Often, a technicain will not receive all the information needed to thoroughly define the problem. They must then rely on tools or other methods to identify the trouble.

Consider the possibilities
After a problem has been identified, the next step is to consider all of the possible causes. In most situations, there are several possible causes for each error, and the technicain should identify each probable cause.

Create and implement an action plan
Once the problem and possible causes have been identified, it’s time to produce a solution. When developing a solution, it’s critical to thoroughly analyze the proposed solution and consider the potential impacts your solution may have.

Here are a few of the most important guidelines to follow when implementing a solution:

Make one change at a time.
Make transparent changes first. This means if there are multiple possible causes for a problem, solve those problems that have the least impact on your users first.
Do not create security holes when implementing your changes.
Finally, and most importantly, always be sure you can back out of any changes you make.

Observe results and, if necessary, try another solution
Some changes may take time to trigger. Observe the results of your solution. Go back to the fact-gathering phase and determine if your solution solved the problem. If the trouble still exists, reference your list of possible causes and attempt to resolve the next most likely cause of the problem.

After a problem has been corrected, the work of the technician is not over. Too many times, technician end up solving the same problem repeatedly. The best way to prevent this is to maintain a problem log and to update this log every time a network failure occurs.

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